Armed burglar died in botched raid in Essex home 'after victim fought back'

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
A court has heard how an armed burglar died after the victim fought back (PXHere/stock photo)

An armed burglar died after a father who was in his lounge with his partner and two children fought back when he broke into their home, a court has heard.

Daniel Wood was with his family in their house above a launderette in South Ockendon, Essex, when a gang of at least four masked men burst in shouting ‘armed police’, Basildon Crown Court was told.

Paul Robertson, who was the first to enter, was armed with what looked like a black handgun, but later turned out to be an imitation weapon, and an axe, prosecutor Cyrus Shroff said.

The family were subjected to a ‘terrifying and serious’ ordeal as the gang demanded money and tied Mr Wood’s hands behind his back with cable ties, as Robertson pointed the imitation gun at them.

The raiders took a diamond engagement ring from Mr Wood’s finger, demanded to know ‘where’s the money under the floorboards?’ and took £900 in cash from a wardrobe, the court heard.

Mr Wood was assaulted but managed to break free from the cable ties, Mr Shroff said, and was later told to lie on the floor while an axe was swung around his feet.

Daniel Wood was with his family in their home above Baylee’s launderette in South Ockendon, Essex (Google)

The court was told: ‘He managed to jump up from the floor, knocking the handgun out of Mr Robertson’s hand, then started wrestling with him to get the axe off him.

‘One then shouted ‘police’. It may have been because there were blue Christmas lights flashing in one of the windows and it may have confused them.’

Robertson suffered serious wounds to his wrists and head and died at the scene, jurors heard on Wednesday.

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‘The remaining burglars escaped into the night in a Vauxhall Vivaro,’ Mr Shroff said.

Forensic evidence was gathered from items recovered near the address including an axe and a claw hammer, and mobile phone records were examined.

This evidence suggested the four intruders were Robertson, who died at the scene, Joseph Pearl, Jerome Johnson and Harrison Fryer.

The trial is taking place at Basildon Crown Court (PA)

Pearl, Johnson and Fryer have admitted their part in the raid.

Two more men deny aggravated burglary and possessing an imitation firearm at the time of an offence and are standing trial.

Mr Shroff said it was the crown’s case that Michael Williams, 36, of Milton Keynes, and Christopher Salvador, 31, of Watford, did not enter the property but played supporting roles.

Williams is accused of being the group’s driver and Salvador is thought to have been involved with planning the raid on the address above Baylee’s launderette, which happened at around 9.30pm on December 4 last year.

‘Those involved with the planning stages are just as guilty of the counts on the indictment as those who physically entered Baylee’s launderette,’ Mr Shroff said.

The trial continues.